Our most recent travel escapade came about as a way to meet in the middle of our respective locations–Weston’s internship in Mississippi and my house in Springfield, Missouri. Weston was in charge of deciding the halfway point where we would spend the weekend. Little did I know he would suggest Jonesboro, Arkansas.
Yes, that’s right. Jonesboro, Arkansas. Could it get any more romantic, exciting, death-defying? No, unless you count the fact that we defied death by coming away from the weekend without being shot by any enraged middle schoolers. (Don’t lie, you were thinking the same politically incorrect thing!)
Now I’m sure that Jonesboro doesn’t come to mind for most of you when you think about Hot Vacation Destinations. Well, you’re in luck. Weston and I set aside our own feelings of vacation superiority in order to explore Jonesboro and report back to the civilized world. We made the greatest effort to interact with the indigenous people, take part in the cultural customs of the locale, and refrain from making too many school shooting jokes. We’re happy to say we succeeded (almost).
I’ll be honest. The only local we talked to was the waitress at the restaurant we went to.
The first night in Jonesboro, we checked in to the classy accommodations–Super8 Motel. (Apparently in Jonesboro dogs can check into their own hotel rooms. “Hotel for Dogs” post soon to come.)
After checking in, Weston and I walked around downtown Jonesboro. The walk lasted approximately 10 minutes.
The next day, Weston and I decided to have some real fun. Weston had read about a farmer’s market held on the campus of Arkansas State University. We went in search of this farmer’s market and eventually we found a sign saying “Farmer’s Market This Way”. We turned, but instead of finding tomatoes or squash, we found miniature horses and goats. Apparently, a petting zoo is also known as a farmer’s market. Weston and I drove around the parking area, thinking that perhaps the petting zoo was the prelude to an epic farmer’s market. The only epic part of this excursion was a huge pile of junk nestled in the woods next to the parking lot.
After our disappointing farmer’s market experience, we decided to check out the hiking trails at nearby state parks. In yet another example of Jonesboro’s efforts to thwart our fun, all of the trails in the surrounding area were closed due to a recent ice storm.
After all of our exciting plans had been sabotaged by Jonesboro’s utter lack of fun, we decided to hit up the mall. The only enticing thing was the food court, where we ate Subway sandwiches made by two very grumpy ladies. While eating, Weston noticed how a good majority of the shoppers sported the ever-stylish mullet. I tried to take a picture of a mullet without being too conspicuous, so I pretended like I was taking Weston’s picture.
At around 2PM, we had run out of things to do, so we decided to buy some beer and kick it until dinner time. Then it dawned on us–We were in a dry county. For those of you unfamiliar with the vile concept of a dry county, it is where no alcohol is sold in the county. In the case of Jonesboro, it appears that you can buy alcohol at a restaurant, but not at a grocery store or a liquor store.
So if you find yourself, like us, stranded in a dry county with little to do, consider these exciting options that we discovered:
Brush up on your Bible trivia by watching “Truth for Youth” on Jonesboro Public Television. In a simultaneously amusing and disturbing episode, a giant mole and a dinosaur explain the fact that God created dinosaurs at the same time he created all other land animals. The show also informs you that the great behemoth mentioned in the book of Job is obviously a dinosaur. Obviously.
If “Truth for Youth” doesn’t entice you, how about a wrestling match at a local church? Only 6 bucks! (The following picture was my attempt to capture the homeless-looking man holding the awkward handwritten sign advertising the wrestling match in the church basement).
Not into violence? How about 80’s howling wolves? You know, the wolf sweatshirts, stickers, and pickup truck decals often owned by people who also like dream catchers and southwest-themed pastel-colored living rooms? Well, you’re in luck. The good people of Jonesboro, Arkansas love their wolf decals. We counted at least three, and we were only there for a weekend.
All in all, Jonesboro is definitely underrated. You go there expecting to hike or tour the school district, and you end up trekking out of the county for beer and drinking it while watching Bible public television! Jonesboro is indeed one town you absolutely must include on your next roadtrip. It will not disappoint even the most cynical traveler!